Tufts University Lacrosse Player Dead at 20 After Choking in Hot Dog Eating Contest

Madie Nicpon, who played on the Tufts University women's lacrosse team, died at the age of 20 on Oct. 17. Her coach called her "a true light for the Tufts campus community" and a "friend to all."

By Elyse Dupre Oct 22, 2021 12:45 PMTags
Watch: In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2022

The college sports world has lost a young star.

Tufts University lacrosse player Madie Nicpon died unexpectedly on Sunday, Oct. 17. She was 20 years old. According to the school, Nicpon was attending a charity fundraiser at an off-campus, private rental property in Somerville, Mass. on Oct. 16 when the accident occurred. Authorities told Rockland/Westchester Journal News the student athlete had been participating in a hot dog eating contest and choked.

"After first responders performed life-saving procedures on site, Madie was transported to Mt. Auburn Hospital and subsequently transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she passed away on Sunday afternoon," Tufts University said in a message sent to its campus community. 

According to the university's student newspaper The Tufts Daily, a gathering of support was held by the University Chaplaincy at the school's Gantcher Center on Oct. 17. The publication, citing an email sent to the Tufts community, reported about 3,000 students, faculty and staff members attended. Mourners were given candles, The Tufts Daily added, and headed to the nearby athletic field, where they placed candles around Nicpon's jersey. 

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Per the student newspaper, Nicpon was a junior in the School of Arts and Sciences majoring in biopsychology. In addition to being a member of the Tufts women's lacrosse team, the school's athletic website noted, she worked with the university's pre-orientation program and volunteered with the Green Dot and Team IMPACT programs. Her teammates lovingly referred to her as "Scooter," the site continued, and she loved to dance. 

"She was a true light for the Tufts campus community who was genuinely a friend to all," the team's head coach Courtney Shute told the website. "Madie made time for everyone and cared deeply for people. Her personality was larger than life and brought a constant smile to those around her."


Nicpon, of Suffern, N.Y., was the daughter of Kathy and Chris Nicpon and sister to brothers Brian and Mikey Nicpon.

"Madie Nicpon was a beautiful and brilliant daughter, granddaughter, sister, and friend," a GoFundMe page established to help the family cover funeral expenses read. "Her contagious smile and laughter lit up every room. Her generosity and kindness has left a lasting impact on those around her."

The Tufts University women's lacrosse team also paid tribute to the late athlete in a post shared to Instagram on Oct. 19. 

"We are beyond heartbroken to share the news of the passing of junior Madie Nicpon—'Scooter,'" part of it read. "Scooter was a true friend and teammate. She truly valued her relationships with her teammates and coaches. Her reach was far beyond our team—she was a true connector on campus and touched every single person she met. She has and will continue to inspire us every day. We should all strive to live life a little bit more like Scooter did—a person that valued love, loyalty, compassion and friendship."

E! News has reached out to authorities but has yet to hear back.

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